UOP, a Honeywell company, announced today that PetroChina Guangxi Petrochemical Company (GXPC) is using UOP process technology to purify hydrogen at a new refining complex in Qinzhou, Guangxi Province, China.

With support from UOP’s local service team, GXPC successfully commissioned a (Pressure Swing Adsorption) System to purify hydrogen, which is a critical ingredient used in modern refining processes to produce clean transportation fuels, including diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. GXPC is subsidiary of PetroChina, one of China’s largest state-owned enterprises.

Refineries use hydrogen to convert heavy oils to lighter, higher-value products such as transportation fuels. Hydrogen is also used to remove contaminants and improve the quality of end products.

“With 50 years’ experience in hydrogen purification technology, UOP PSA units offer nearly 100% on-stream reliability and nearly 100% hydrogen purity, resulting in enhanced performance and an improved return on investment for our customers,” said Rebecca Liebert, Senior Vice President and General Manager for UOP’s Gas Processing and Hydrogen business unit. “As new refineries come online in China, we look forward to offering reliable, long-term PSA technology.”

The PSA unit at GXPC processes feed from a steam reformer to produce more than 140,000 Nm3/h (normal cubic meters per hour) of hydrogen.  

In addition to PSA technology, GXPC is also using several other UOP technologies to produce high-quality fuels, including: CCR Platforming™ technology, two-Stage Unicracking™ technology, Unionfining™ technology, hydrotreating technology, Penex™ technology, and fluid catalytic cracking technology.

Since UOP commercialised the first small, four-bed hydrogen PSA System in 1966, it has significantly improved Polybed PSA Systems by incorporating several generations of technological advancements. New generations of adsorbents, enhanced cycle configurations, modified process and equipment designs, and more reliable control systems and equipment – combined with decades of operational expertise — have resulted in higher performance and reliability, and improved operability at a lower cost.

The Polybed PSA System is a skid-mounted, modular unit that comes complete with hardware, adsorbents, control systems and embedded process technology. The process uses proprietary UOP adsorbents to adsorb impurities at high pressure from hydrogen-containing waste streams and subsequently reject them at low pressure. The UOP system provides 99.95% on-stream reliability in supply of 99.9% purity hydrogen.

In addition to recovering and purifying hydrogen from steam reformers and refinery off-gases, Polybed PSA Systems can be used to produce hydrogen from other sources, including ethylene off-gas, methanol off-gas and partial oxidation/syngas.